Thursday, August 24, 2006

My Student Teachers-Part-II

These are students who have not got the best opportunity. Many are from backgrounds where parents do not even understand the need for educating a girl child. For them this is a stop gap arrangement and is valued in the marriage market. Yet each year we get a few who make it big. Our Alumni list can vouch for this. The founders of our college were ambitious people and it was their effort that still shows in every nook and corner of the place. To them, the peon and the professor were equally important for the well being of the institute and it is students like these that sustain and motivate us. There are many more that deserve a mention and we are in for a surprise from the most unexpected quarters. My post would have no end if I went on and on but I must stop with the mention of two more students. Manisha Mishra and Madhumita.
Manisha was a hard worker but a really poor student. I could make out that she tried her best but she failed her part I exams. She would come to me from time to time to clarify her doubts. She was finding it difficult to cope. I gently suggested that she take up a lighter course. Perhaps a non practical subject. Her reply made me think of the plight of the girl child in our society.
“ Ma’am,” she said “ this is the only time I get to spend outside my home. I cannot receive phone calls or meet anyone other than a five year old boy whom I teach just to keep myself from turning mad. My dad drops me at the college gate and picks me up from there. He truly believes that one should come to college only for practicals and theory ought to be studied on one’s own. He checks my time table each day and brings me over only on the days that I have practicals. If I took up a non practical subject I’d be held captive in my own house.”
Here was a fiercely protective father who wants the best for his daughter but on his own terms and conditions. The girl was underweight and pale as well as a nervous wreck. I wanted to talk to her parents but the girl forbade me to do so. He knew me by name from what the girl had told him but if I spoke up for her he’d perhaps discontinue her studies and accuse me of being a bad influence on her. Her mother truly believed that this was the best way to protect a girl child from this big bad world.
Madumita’s father worked for the Indian Cable Company. The company has been closed down since 1994 or so. Employees retain their quarters but nothing else. The company is unable to pay their settlement dues. To support her family Madhumita works in a pre-primary school and is paid a princely sum of a thousand rupees. She leaves hom at 6.00 in the morning works in her school from 7.00AM to 11.30 AM and rushes to college to attend classes. She misses the first two periods almost every day. But when she enters the class room she has a pleasant smile for all of us,. One cannot ever see a trace of frustration or annoyance in her face. After class she stays back to note down what she missed and to clear any doubts that she may have. She hasn’t passed out yet but I have no doubt that her future is bound to be bright.
“ Why don’t you get yourself a two wheeler?” I asked.
“ A two wheeler has to be fed with petrol” she replied. “ We already have four mouths to feed.”
And she laughed the laughter of a carefree youth just like others of her age.
I think that I’ve learnt much more from these girls than what I’ve taught them. It is this rich treasure of knowledge that no one can ever take away.

22 comments:

Srijith Unni said...

Amazingly flawless and heart touching post, Hip Grandma..! Did you only have girls as your students.. or were the boys all bad.. ;).
The kind of determination and energy students can show has been well depicted by you..
After all, all of us are students.. We can always learn something from someone sometime..

With Best Regards,
Srijith.

The Inquisitive Akka said...

Such touching stories!

Ardra said...

amazing students, inspiring experiences- thank u for sharing them...
warm rgds
ardra

Balaji said...

Amazing. This world of ours is filled with so many people of this kind. We don't tend to notice them or give importance to them. But when we do we are overwhelmed. Unfortunately what interests us is the n number of petty problems that we have got.

May be I will become a teached one day. Donno what I will teach though and I have no qualification in teaching.

Has to be me said...

Oospy....cant believe parents can be so cruel & harsh on their own kids. I used to think all this is more filmy & now I m amazed that its actally true. Its depressing to note her state.

Prakash said...

I read only the first 3 posts and Iam blown! You are an inspiration. With a PhD here in the US and getting ready to return to India to teach (and research), this is the kind of stuff I have wanted to hear from some teacher.

Yes, great attitude to have. Learning is an eternal process. And you love waht you are doing. A Phd and cleared UGC-NET at 40's. WOW!

Should get in touch with you by email... You made my day!

Hip Grandma said...

srijith:learnig as you say is a continuous process.
IQA:glad you liked them.they're real.
ardra:I only want to say brilliance may not be available to all but hard work is very much in our own hands.
balaji:such people need our appreciation.let us give as much of it as possible.hope you take up teaching.
prakash:you've got me wrong.I'm in the US on a visit.My degrees were all acquired in India.i'd be returning in oct.

pram said...

Nice stories as usual.

I think Prakash means he has a Ph.D from US and plans to go back to India to teach.

Prakash said...

Hip grandma!

"With a PhD here in the US and getting ready to return to India to teach (and research), this is the kind of stuff I have wanted to hear from some teacher."

that was about me! i have a phd in mol bio from here(US) and I am getting ready for a career in teaching, you see!...

Getting a phd and clearing NET after 40's in India is definitely a HUGE achievement. It is more common here in the US.

Hip Grandma said...

prakash:sorry I got you wrong.welcome to India.we need people like you.

priya:thanx for the correction.

Hip Grandma said...

Prakash:BTW those were kind words and welcome to my blog.

Hip Grandma said...

has to be me:films reflect only what happens in life.

Cindy said...

What a fascinating blog- I was just checking out some of the links on The Visitor's blog and found you. I'm bookmarking you so I can find my way back.

starry nights said...

Touching post. so much can be learnt from students. the problems and difficulty they go through just to get an education and on the other hand we see kids throw it away.

itchingtowrite said...

Hi HH Grandmom
i used to hav a classmate who was quite intelligent. her brother was not blessed with so much of it, both were in teh same class( bro failed a year I guess) yet all study materials / tuitions for engg exams were in his name!!
i liked your part 1 too. i hav a bad handwriting & she adviced me to do the same - even draw straight lines so that i can better my writing

Usha said...

Really touching posts - I think every one of our women who fight against such prejudices and pressures is an unsung hero. You are right we learn so much from them - I guess through their hard experiences they learn more at a very early age about Life itself.

Hip Grandma said...

Srijith:we have only girls in our college.i had the experience of interacting with boys younger than me by 13 to 15 yrs. when I did M.Sc. and I enjoyed it very much.They accepted me as one among them.

cindy:Thanx a million and welcome here.

Lalitha:that's why I call them 'My Student Teachers'.I think we should tell our kids that there are many out there who are not even able to attend school and money is not always the cause.

ITW:it was nice of your class mate to get study material in her brother's name.I hope he was benefitted by her gesture.yea it was nice of her to motivate you to improve your handwriting.It matters a lot.Now for your part you should encorage others.

Usha:Remember what I had said in an earlier post. There is so much to report so why write abt evil?

visithra said...

im wondering about manisha - what i have noticed is the more protective a parent is the more blind they are when ill does accidentaly fall on their child - may god bless the gal

Hip Grandma said...

visithra:yes it is sad that with the best of intentions people end up torturing their own children.i hope they see reason and allow her to grow.

Mahadevan said...

It is girls like Madhumitha and Manisha who need all encouragement and support from the society. They would certainly emerge out of their present conditions with glory.

The fortunate few should remember what you wrote in another post:

"See good things everywhere and thank God for small mercies".

Hip Grandma said...

Mahadevan:Madhumita and manisha still study in our college.I'll read out your comments to them when I get back to India.I'm sure your good wishes will see them thro'. We who get every thing rather easily take it for granted.

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G'night